Mazda Motor is shifting direction to make its own hybrid and battery-electric vehicles, according to a report today in Automotive News (may require subscription). The move, if confirmed, would mark a rapid retreat from the ‘trend-bucking’ EV skepticism that has been a staple of Mazda’s message.
Mazda R&D chief Seita affirmed late last month that Mazda would achieve mandated fuel economy savings by improving engines and transmissions, and by redesigning vehicles to reduce their weight. The Detroit News quoted president and CEO Takashi Yamanouchi echoing that sentiment at last week’s New York International Auto Show, promising release of a brand new engine next year.
However, Seita had also admitted that Mazda lacked the cash to finance development of its own EV powertrains. And this weekend’s Automotive News report directly contrasts the old strategy, quoting Yamanouchi as saying that hybrids and battery-powered electric vehicles developed in-house will contribute to its plan in order to “boost the average fuel economy of its cars globally 30 percent by 2015.”